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Torrens Knight – Natural Born Killer

Torrens Knight

Image result for Torrens Knight pictures

– Natural Born Killer –

 

Torrens Knight (born 4 August 1969) is a Northern Ireland loyalist, who belonged to the North Antrim and Londonderry Brigade of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

Image result for flag  uda

UDA Flag

In 1993 he took part in the Greysteel massacre (in which eight civilians were shot dead) and the Castlerock killings (in which three civilians and a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) member were killed). After being convicted—along with three others—for the killings, he served seven years in the Maze Prison before his release in 2000 under the terms of the Belfast Agreement.

 

Disclaimer 

The views and opinions expressed in these pages/documentaries are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland. They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors.

Early life

Knight spent his formative years living at his grandmother’s farmhouse in the rural area of Aghadowey after the split of his parent’s marriage. In adulthood he developed an addiction to poker gambling machines which resulted in his exposure of stealing money from his grandmother to fund his habit.

As a result of this he was asked to leave the home and subsequently moved to the mostly Protestant town of Portstewart. Living with a loyalist, he started drinking alcohol and involving himself with criminality.

Paramilitary Activity

His initial starting point within loyalism was selling a magazine for a loyalist prisoners association. He progressed to the ranks of the UDA and carried out acts like robberies and punishment beatings. Knight was part of a four-man UDA group sent to conduct an attack in revenge for the Shankill Road bombing.

 

Trick or Treat

Their target was the Rising Sun bar in Greysteel, where Knight, Stephen Irwin, Jeffrey Deeney and Brian McNeill shot eight dead (six Catholics and two Protestants). After the leading gunman, Irwin shouted “Trick or treat”, he and Deeney raked the bar with gunfire, while Knight, armed with a shotgun, stood at the door. 19 other people were injured. McNeill was the driver of one of the cars used after the shootings.

 

Image result for flag  uda

UFF Flag

The attack was claimed by the “Ulster Freedom Fighters”, a covername used by the UDA.

Knight was given eight life sentences for his part in the killings and a further four more for the killing of an IRA member and three Catholic civilians in CastlerockCounty Londonderry. He served seven years in the Maze Prison before paramilitary prisoners were granted a general release under the Good Friday Agreement in 2000.

Allegations of being an informant

According to David McKittrick, there had been rumours that Knight had been a police informer. Suspicions have been voiced by John Dallat, a member of the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP).

Dallat, who said he was in touch with police about Knight before the attacks in Greysteel and Castlerock, claimed they might have been prevented since it was known Knight was an extremist.

In 2000 Knight attracted the attention of staff at a bank where he was withdrawing large amounts of money from an account into which £50,000 a year was being paid. The bank’s concern was that Knight was involved in money laundering, but, when police were contacted, an assurance was given that everything was in order.

The money was said to be from a Scottish engineering firm, but the account was quickly closed down.

Image result for Nuala O'Loan, Baroness O'Loan

Nuala O’Loan

Police ombudsman Nuala O’Loan investigated Dallat’s claim that police had prior information about Greysteel, stating that there was no evidence this was the case. She also stated that Knight’s conviction and sentence led her to believe that he was not being protected by police, but added that it was beyond her remit to investigate whether or not he was a paid informer.

Alleged membership of Apprentice Boys

In 2008 Sinn Féin councillor Billy Leonard claimed that Knight was a member of the Kilrea branch of the Apprentice Boys. It was claimed that Knight took part in a parade in Kilrea and laid a wreath at the cenotaph in the village.

The Kilrea branch of the Apprentice Boys denied this as did Knight himself. A spokesman stated that Knight wasn’t a member and that they will demand an apology and explanation from Sinn Féin.

Knight also stated that John Dallat and Billy Leonard are taking part in a ‘hate campaign’ against him and challenged the nationalist politicians ‘to get off his back’

2009 conviction

In October 2009 Knight was found guilty of assaulting two sisters in a bar in Coleraine As a result, his early release licence was suspended and he was returned to jail.

He was later sentenced to four months jail for the assault. The judge said:

“The injuries sustained were consistent with a vicious attack on the two women and of particular concern in this case is that you kicked Ms Nicholl while she was on the ground, prone and unable to defend herself…. People who do that can expect no mercy or sympathy from these courts.

You acted as a bully when you approached these sisters. You lost control and lashed out”.

After Knight was returned to prison in 2009 it was revealed that Trevor Collins, a member of Jim Allister‘s Traditional Unionist Voice political party from Garvagh, was collecting signatures campaigning for his release from prison. The TUV said it would not be taking action against Collins for instigating the petition.

 

Image result for Torrens Knight

Knight was released on 6 August 2010

 

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See:  The Greysteel Shootings

 

See:  Castlerock Killings

See: Shankill Bombing

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Greysteel

Confessions of serial killer Torrens Knight

Recording reveals loyalist’s life of drugs, crimes and sectarian murder

Notorious ‘trick or treat’ killer Torrens Knight has spoken frankly about his life of crime, drug abuse and sectarian murder.

The once defiant, gloating loyalist gunman says his life “spiralled out of control” when he joined the UFF and he knew the Greysteel massacre was wrong.

But the born-again Christian, 46, has also admitted that he relished being in the UDA/UFF, saying: “I was on a road to destruction but I liked it because it fuelled my anger.

“I looked upon the UDA as my family. It was sad in a way but that’s how I looked at the UDA.”

 

Co Londonderry man Knight – the most infamous of the Greysteel killers – has spoken candidly of his life as a terrorist in a 33 minute audio testimony made for a Christian group and broadcast online on the same site that published the testimony of Ballymena ‘glued lips’ killer Adrian Hayes.

Choking with emotion on occasions, Knight tells how he descended from being a poker machine addict who took cash from granny’s purse, to becoming a UDA robber and enforcer before joining a UFF murder squad.

Aged 24 he led the UFF gang that shouted “trick or treat” before raking the Rising Sun bar with machine gun fire in Halloween 1993.

A 19-year-old woman and an 81-year-old man were among the eight people mercilessly killed in the sectarian slaughter at the village pub on Saturday, October 30.

Following his arrest TV pictures of an unrepentant Knight screaming abuse and defiance outside Limavady courthouse were beamed around the world.

Bible-basher Knight now says that his snarling, hardman stance was all a front.

He planned to go on the run but says he knew in his heart the atrocity in the pub was wrong and allowed police to arrest him.

Speaking at a Gospel meeting, Knight began by telling fellow Christians of his early days, living with his God-fearing granny on a farm in Aghadowey when his parents’ marriage broke up.

Knight’s life began to go wrong when he became addicted to poker machines at a local pub.  He took cash from a purse where his granny kept money for church missions and his gran and furious dad told him to pack his bags.

He moved to Portstewart with a pal from a hardline loyalist background who had been told to leave his family home when he started going out with a Catholic girl.

“I went to Portstewart to live. I started drinking and going out. I lost the influence and fear of my father.

“One thing led to another. I had anger issues. I would say I had a chip on my shoulder and I got involved in criminality.

“A few years later I got involved in an organisation. I started off just going round the doors selling magazines for the LPA (Loyalist Prisoners Association) and lifting money. I enjoyed it.

“Then I progressed. I moved up into the UDA, going round the doors wasn’t enough. I started doing robberies and beatings, things like that. But that still wasn’t enough. I wanted to go further.

“I progressed to the UFF, which was really the murder teams of the loyalist paramilitaries. My life just spiralled out of control.

“I joined the organisation to fight against the IRA who I saw as the enemy and it just progressed and progressed. It was a scary time.

“I got involved in shooting and ended up killing not only IRA men but also killing innocent people. That was a thing I never ever thought I would do. I never planned it.

 

Aftermath: RUC officers outside the Rising Sun bar where Torrens Knight murdered eight innocent people on Halloween night 1993.
Aftermath: RUC officers outside the Rising Sun bar where Torrens Knight murdered eight innocent people on Halloween night 1993.

“But that’s just sin. Once you go down the road of sin, it sucks you in, it can just take over.

“It was just like I was going down a road of destruction. And I liked it because it fuelled my anger,” said the man who was also jailed for the killings of four men in Castlerock in 1993.

He said he looked on the UDA as his family.

“I was part of something. I felt special. I had boys who would watch my back and I would do the same for them.”

Knight talks about “eyeing up” a Provo for assassination for a few days prior to the Greysteel murders but he now thanks God that the man did not turn up.

“Then the Shankill bomb happened and orders came down the line something big was going down, that we were to cancel what we were doing. And I was asked to take charge of the team that were going to carry this out.

“The place that was picked was the Rising Sun bar in Greysteel. I didn’t question it.”

He said he would have done anything he was asked to do by UDA leaders at that point.

“At that time we were so, in a way brainwashed, that’s being truthful. We believed what we were doing was right.”

After the pub massacre Knight considered going on the run but instead effectively gave himself up.

“I had a gut feeling when the ‘job’ was carried out that something wasn’t right.

“I was actually ready to go on the run and go into hiding but there was something in here [he thumps on his heart a number of times] that didn’t sit right with me.

 

“I says ‘I’ll man up’ because I knew they [police] were looking for me. A pile of my mates had been lifted. I saw the police in Macosquin and I just stood and they took me and another chap away.”

Knight said he had been interrogated by CID at Castlereagh Holding Centre previously and regarded it just as a game which he enjoyed. He never thought the cops would ‘get under his skin’ but this time was different.

He added: “I tried to put on this hard exterior, I tried to justify it but deep down I knew it wasn’t right, these innocent people, it wasn’t right.

“And I think that’s what helped break me too because I knew it wasn’t right.”

He talks about spending time in the Maze jail on remand after “wrecking the Crum (Crumlin Road Gaol)” and finding drugs in easy supply.

“It was a scary place. It was a mad place. It was full of mad men. I thank God he brought me through it all.”

Knight says he “dabbled” in drugs prior to going into the Maze but cannabis became a way of life in jail.

“Whenever we went into prison unfortunately drugs were readily available and that’s the way we put in our days in, smoking weed and getting stoned.”

The multiple killer, who was given 12 life sentences, said: “I suppose it [the drugs] were a way of us dealing with what we were going through because it was traumatic, our lives were just turned upside down. It was a form of escapism.”

In his testimony Knight, who is understood to work for a joinery firm on the North Coast, tells how he found God while serving time in prison.

He says his partner Carolyn also came to the Lord after seeing how he had changed. At times he chokes with emotion as he talks about his life and the role of God in his life. The killer admits that on occasions he has backslid, saying “he took the hand off the plough”.

After being given early release under the Good Friday Agreement terms he was later returned to jail for assaulting two women and disorderly behaviour in a Coleraine bar. But he says he now thanks God he was jailed for a second time.

Choking up, he says: “I had drifted away from God and that’s why I got into the mess that I did.  I was one of those men who the Bible talks about, a man who had taken his hand off the plough.

“Since then I cry a lot. God touched me in a special way. God has had to break me a few times but he hasn’t broke me to destroy, he has broke me to build me up again, to teach me.”

The audio of Torrens Knight’s full testimony was recently uploaded to the website of Set Free Prisons Bangor.

See Belfast Telegraph for full story

 

 

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12th August – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

12th August

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

Tuesday 12 August 1969

The Battle of the Bogside

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Battle of the Bogside;Full Documentary

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Battle of the Bogside

Tuesday 12 August 1969 Battle of the Bogside Began As the annual Apprentice Boys parade passed close to the Bogside area of Derry serious rioting erupted. The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), using armoured cars and water cannons, entered the Bogside, in an attempt to end the rioting. The RUC were closely followed and supported by a loyalist crowd. The residents of the Bogside forced the police and the loyalists back out of the area. The RUC used CS gas to again enter the Bogside area.

[This period of conflict between the RUC and Bogside (and Creggan) residents was to become known as the ‘Battle of the Bogside’ and lasted for two days.]

There was also sporadic  riots and running battles on  the Shankill , Falls and other areas of the province

See Battle of Bogside page

Thursday 12 August 1971

A Protestant man died two days after being shot by a British soldier.

Sunday 12 August 1973

The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) tried out a new plastic baton round during a riot.

[The plastic baton round was eventually to replace the rubber baton round that had been in use since 2 August 1970.]

Thursday 12 August 1976

A group of 1,000 women held a demonstration on the Finaghy Road in Andersontown at the place where the three Maguire children were killed on 10 August 1976. 6,000 people signed a petition in Andersonstown calling for peace.

Sunday 12 August 1984

Martin Galvin, then leader of NORAID (Irish Northern Aid Committee), appeared at another rally this time in Belfast. Galvin was banned from the UK and Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers moved to arrest him.

Sean Downes

During an altercation with protesters an RUC officer fired a plastic baton round at close range and killed Sean Downes (22), a Catholic civilian. An RUC officer was killed by the IRA in County Tyrone.

Wednesday 12 August 1987

Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), turned down a plan for talks between the four main constitutional parties in Northern Ireland (UUP, SDLP, DUP and APNI) that had been suggested by Robin Eames, Church of Ireland Archbishop.

Monday 12 August 1991

Pádraig Ó Seanacháin

Pádraig Ó Seanacháin (33), who was Sinn Féin (SF) election worker, was shot dead by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), in Killen, County Tyrone. It was announced that there would be a review of the case of Judith Ward who had been convicted of the Bradford coach bombing in 1974.

Wednesday 12 August 1992

The Metropolitan Police in London uncovered approximately 12 tons of explosives when they seized three vans. The explosives had been manufactured by the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Five people were initially arrested in connection with the find but were later released.

Thursday 12 August 1993

The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) prevented a bomb attack when officers intercepted a van bomb, estimated at 3,000 pounds, in Portadown, County Armagh.

Saturday 12 August 1995

The Apprentice Boys of Derry (ABD) held their annual parade in Derry. Due to the opening of security gates on the city walls the ABD was able to parade around the walls for the first time in 25 years.

However, Republicans staged a sitdown demonstration before the parade began and were forcible removed by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

There was rioting in Derry following the parade and police fired 40 plastic bullets. There were serious confrontations between the RUC and Nationalists in the lower Ormeau Road area of Belfast. An ABD ‘feeder’ parade passed along the street once police had cleared the route. There were also disturbances at Dunloy and Rasharkin, County Antrim.

Tuesday 12 August 1997

First Debate Between SF and UUP on TV

27 Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) prisoners in the Maze Prison began a riot which caused severe damage to C and D wings of H-Block 6.

Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) prisoners in wings A and B of H-Block 6 had to be moved as the LVF occupied the roof.

Ken Maginnis, then Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Member of Parliament (MP), appeared in a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Newsnight programme in a debate which involved Martin McGuinness, then Vice-President of Sinn Féin (SF) and MP. This was the first time that a member of the UUP had agreed to appear alongside a member of SF on British Television.

McGuinness began moves to have a judicial review of the decision of the Speaker of the House of Commons to refuse the two SF MPs office facilities. The reason given for the refusal was the fact that the two MPs had not taken their seats in the House, which would have involved an oath of allegiance to the Queen.

Two Republican prisoners being held in Portlaoise Prison in the Republic of Ireland, were given early conditional release.

Sunday 12 August 2001

Two men were shot and injured in a Loyalist paramilitary ‘punishment’ attack in Greencastle, County Antrim.

Another man was shot and injured in a separate Loyalist paramilitary ‘punishment’ attack in the Rathcollle estate, Newtownabbey, County Antrim.

John Reid, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said in an interview on the BBC Television’s Breakfast With Frost programme that he believed that the parties were “tantalisingly close” to reaching agreement. He defended his decision to suspend the political institutions as the best of the options open to him.

Speaking on the same programme Martin McGuinness, then Vice-President of Sinn Féin (SF), said the suspension, together with the Unionist response to the developments on decommissioning, had caused “a serious situation”.

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collage

Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the follow  people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die

– Thomas Campbell

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live forever

– To  the Paramilitaries  –

“There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for

11  people lost their lives on the 12th August between 1970 – 1992

12th August

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12 August 1970

Samuel Donaldson,   (23)

Protestant
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died one day after being injured by booby trap bomb, attached to abandoned car, Lissaraw, near Crossmaglen, County Armagh.

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12 August 1970

Robert Millar,   (26)

Protestant
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died one day after being injured by booby trap bomb, attached to abandoned car, Lissaraw, near Crossmaglen, County Armagh.

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12 August 1971
William Ferris,   (38)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Died two days after being shot while travelling in car along Crumlin Road, Belfast

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12 August 1972
Francis Wynne,   (37)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Found shot in abandoned car, Jaffa Street, Shankill, Belfast.

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12 August 1975
John Hunter,  (57)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Defence Association (UDA)
Shot at his workplace, council cleansing depot, off Albertbridge Road, Belfast

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12 August 1977

Neil Bewley,   (19) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by sniper while on British Army (BA) foot patrol, Norglen Drive, Turf Lodge, Belfast.

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12 August 1984

Sean Downes,  (22)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
Shot by plastic bullet, during anti-internment march, Andersonstown Road, Belfast

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12 August 1984

Malcolm White,   (26)

Protestant
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) mobile patrol, Crockanboy, Greencastle, County Tyrone.

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12 August 1988
Richard Heakin,  (30) nfNIE
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot while sitting in his car stopped at traffic lights, Oostende, Belgium

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12 August 1991

Padraig O’Seanachain,   (33)

Catholic
Status: Civilian Political Activist (CivPA),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Sinn Fein (SF) member. Shot by sniper, while travelling to work, Killen, Castlederg, County Tyrone.

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12 August 1992

Robin Hill, Robin (22)

Catholic
Status: ex-Irish Republican Army (xIRA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Found shot, in entry off Beechmount Crescent, Falls, Belfast. Alleged informer.

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8 th August – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

8th August

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

Friday 8 August 1969

James Chichester-Clark, then Northern Ireland Prime Minister, held a meeting with James Callaghan, then British Home Secretary, in London. Callaghan agreed to an increase in the number of security force personnel.

It was also decided to allow the annual Apprentice Boys parade to go ahead in Derry.

Sunday 8 August 1976

A number of rallies were held to mark the fifth anniversary of the introduction of internment.

Máire Drumm, then Vice-President of Sinn Féin (SF), addressed one of the rallies and said that the campaign for the reintroduction of special category status would continue.

Drumm is reported as saying that Belfast would “come down stone by stone, and if necessary other towns will come down, and some in England too” as part of the campaign.

A group of Republican demonstrators broke into the home of Gerry Fitt, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), who had to use his gun, issued for personal protection, to protect himself and members of his family and to force the crowd to leave the house.

Friday 8 August 1980

There was widespread violence following commemorations of the ninth anniversary of the introduction of Internment.

Saturday 8 August 1981

Ninth Hunger Striker Died

Thomas McElwee

Thomas McElwee (23) died after 62 days on hunger strike. This weekend marked the tenth Anniversary of the introduction of Internment and there were widespread riots in Republican areas.

Three people were killed during disturbances over the weekend.

Sunday 8 August 1982

At an Internment anniversary rally in west Belfast representatives of Noraid and the People’s Liberation Organisation (PLO) addressed the crowd.

Monday 8 August 1988

Two Catholic men were killed by the Protestant Action Force (PAF).

A British soldier died from injuries received three weeks earlier.

Sunday 8 August 1993

Sean Lavery (21), a Catholic civilian, was shot dead by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), in a gun attack on the Lavery home.

Sean’s father, Bobby Lavery, was a Sinn Féin (SF) councillor.

Monday 8 August 1994

Trelford Withers (46), a part-time member of the Royal Irish Regiment (RIR), was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). He was off duty at the time and was killed at his shop, Downpatrick Street, Crossgar, County Down.

Tuesday 8 August 1995

Members of the Apprentice Boys of Derry (ABD) threatened to prevent Catholics from attending church if Loyal Order parades were rerouted away from Nationalist areas.

Friday 8 August 1997

Nationalist residents of Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh, gathered outside the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) police station to protest at a Royal Black Preceptory march planned for the village on 9 August 1997.

Ruairí O Brádaigh, then President of Republican Sinn Féin (RSF), was refused a visa by the Canadian government.

Saturday 8 August 1998

The Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) issued a statement which stated that as far as the grouping was concerned the “war is over”.

Many people expressed doubts about the real intentions of the LVF.

This was a follow-up to the announcement of a ceasefire on 15 May 1998. It was thought that the statement was a response to the fact that LVF prisoners had not been included on the list of those eligible for release that was presented on 28 July 1998.

Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), told a meeting in west Belfast that he would not be pressured into uttering the words “the war is over” to satisfy Unionists.

There were disturbances in Derry following the annual Apprentice Boys of Derry parade.

Sunday 8 August 1999

INLA Stated that War is Over

There was a report in The Sunday Times (a London based newspaper) that the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) had confirmed its view of the futility of continuing the “armed struggle” and had declared that the “war is over”.

The INLA was the first paramilitary organisation to make this declaration. However, the organisation insisted that it was not about to begin decommissioning its weapons.

A man from Newtownabbey, County Antrim, was shot in a paramilitary ‘punishment’ attack.

Two petrol bombs were thrown at the house of a Catholic man living in Larne, County Antrim.

There were sectarian arson attacks on an Orange hall in Ballymoney, County Antrim, a Presbyterian church hall in Rathfriland, County Down, and a Free Presbyterian church hall in Moneyslane.

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Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Victims  Collage

Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the follow  people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live  forever

– To  the Paramilitaries  –

“There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

10 people lost their lives on the 8th August between 1971   – 1994

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 08 August 1971


   Malcolm   Hatton,  (21) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by sniper while on British Army (BA) foot patrol, Brompton Park, Ardoyne, Belfast.

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 08 August 1974

  Terence Miskimmin,   (24)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Association (UDA),

Killed by: Ulster Defence Association (UDA)
Found shot, Seaview Drive, off Shore Road, Belfast. Internal Ulster Defence Association dispute.

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08 August 1976
James Borucki,   (19) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by bomb attached to abandoned bicycle while on British Army (BA) foot patrol, The Square, Crossmaglen, County Armagh.

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 08 August 1981

Thomas McElwee,   (23)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: not known (nk)
Died on the 62nd day of hunger strike, Long Kesh / Maze Prison, County Down.

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 08 August 1984

Brendan Watters,   (24)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died in premature bomb explosion in house, Barcroft Park, Newry, County Down.

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 08 August 1988
Alexander Bannister,  (21) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died three weeks after being shot by sniper while on British Army (BA) foot patrol, outside New Barnsley British Army (BA) base, Ballymurphy, Belfast.

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 08 August 1988

Seamus Morris,   (18)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Protestant Action Force (PAF)
Shot from passing car while walking along Brompton Park, Ardoyne, Belfast

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08 August 1988
Peter Dolan, (25) Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Protestant Action Force (PAF)
Shot from passing car while walking along Etna Drive, Ardoyne, Belfast.

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08 August 1993

Sean Lavery,  (21)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot during gun attack on his home, Antrim Road, New Lodge, Belfast. His father a Sinn Fein (SF) councillor.

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08 August 1994

Trelford Withers,   (46)

Protestant
Status: Royal Irish Regiment (RIR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot at his shop, Downpatrick Street, Crossgar, County Down.

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7th August – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

7th August

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

Monday 7 August 1972

Seven people were killed in separate incidents across Northern Ireland.

Tuesday 7 August 1979

Eamon Ryan (32), a civilian in the Republic of Ireland, was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) during a bank robbery in Strand Street, Tramore, County Waterford.

Wednesday 7 August 1985

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Independent Television News (ITN) journalists went on strike over the decision by the British government and the BBC in Northern Ireland to ban the documentary ‘Real Lives: At The Edge Of The Union’.

What Happened Next – At The Edge Of The Union (Part 1)

The strike led to the BBC World Service going off the air for the first time.

Thursday 7 August 1986

DUP ‘Invade’ Republic

Peter Robinson took part in the incursion across the border in 1986.

Peter Robinson, then deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), marched with 500 Loyalists into the village of Clontibret, County Monaghan, in the Republic of Ireland.

The Loyalists entered the Garda Síochána (the Irish police) station in the village and physically assaulted two Garda officers.

[Robinson was later arrested and fined £17,500 in a Drogheda court because of the incident.]

The Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a covername used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), announced that it was extending its list of ‘legitimate targets’.

[This was in response to Irish Republican Army (IRA) statements on 28 July 1986 and 5 August 1986.]

Sunday 7 August 1994

Kathleen O’Hagan (38), a Catholic civilian who was pregnant at the time, was shot dead by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) at her home, Barony Road, Greencastle, near Omagh, County Tyrone.

A husband talks about the murder of his pregnant wife by loyalist paramilitaries

Wednesday 7 August 1996

Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, ordered that the contentious part of the Derry walls, a section overlooking the Bogside area, be closed off for a month. This effectively banned the proposed march on 10 August 1996. Immediately after the decision the British Army moved to seal off the section of walls.

Gardí in the Republic of Ireland discover a rocket launcher and ammunition in the Fane River near Dundalk, County Louth.

Tuesday 7 August 2001

Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and Members of Parliament (MPs) met for two hours to discuss the British and Irish government’s Implementation Plan (1 August 2001) and also the statement by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) (6 August 2001).

Following the meeting the UUP rejected both the Implementation Plan and the latest moves on the decommissioning of weapons held by the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

David Trimble, then leader of the UUP, stated that: “We have seen a step by republicans but of course it falls far short of what we need, which is to see decommissioning actually begin. We’re now heading towards a difficulty at the end of the week,”.

The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) responded positively to the Implementation Plan. John Hume, then leader of the SDLP, addressed a press conference in Belfast and said the party had made a detailed study of the proposals:

“We are responding with a very strong ‘Yes’, … We have some concerns, but that is totally natural,”

He also said: “We are fully committed to the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement”.

——————-

————————————–

Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the death of the following people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die

– Thomas Campbell

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live forever

– To the Paramilitaries –

There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

9 People lost their lives on the 7th August between 1971  – 1994

———————-

07 August 1971

Harry Thornton, (30)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot while driving past Springfield Road Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) / British Army (BA) base, Belfast.

———————-

07 August 1972
Terence Hennebrey,  (17)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Found shot in entry off Glenmachan Street, Village, Belfast.

———————-

 07 August 1972

David Wynne,   (21) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on British Army (BA) mobile patrol, Forfey, near Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh.

———————-

07 August 1972

Errol Gordon,  (22) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in land mine attack on British Army (BA) mobile patrol, Forfey, near Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh.

———————-

07 August 1972

 William Creighton,   (27)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot outside his home, Drumrainey, Magheraveely, near Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh

———————-

 07 August 1972


Geoffrey Knipe,   (24) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: not known (nk)
Killed when British Army (BA) Armoured Personnel Carrier crashed after coming under missile attack thrown from crowd, Drumarg, Armagh.

———————-

 07 August 1974

Patrick McElhone,   (23)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot shortly after being taken from his home by British Army (BA) patrol, Limehill, near Pomeroy, County Tyrone.

———————-

 07 August 1979
Eamon Ryan,   (32) nfNIRI
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot during bank robbery, Strand Street, Tramore, County

———————-

 07 August 1994


Kathleen O’Hagan,   (38)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot, at her home, Barony Road, Greencastle, near Omagh, County Tyrone

———————-

28th July – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

28th July

Key events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

Saturday 28 July 1984

Martin Galvin, then leader of NORAID (Irish Northern Aid Committee), was banned from entering the United Kingdom (UK).

[Despite the ban Galvin appeared at rallies in Derry (9 August 1984) and Belfast (12 August 1984) where a Catholic civilian was killed by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).]

Monday 28 July 1986

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) issued a statement threatening any civilians who worked for the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) or the British Army (BA).

On 30 July 1986 the IRA killed a civilian contractor who worked for the RUC. On 5 August 1986 the IRA issued a further threat to people working with the security

Sunday 28 July 1991

The Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) exploded seven incendiary devices in shops in the Republic of Ireland.

Friday 28 July 1995

The British government transferred three Republican prisoners involved in a ‘dirty’ protest at Whitemoor Prison in Cambridgeshire to prisons in Northern Ireland. Four other prisoners continued with their protest at Whitemoor.

This brought the number of prisoners transferred to Northern Ireland to 21.

Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, lifted a fund-raising ban on organisations suspected of having paramilitary links. The ban had been imposed 10 years earlier.

Monday 28 July 1997

James Coopey (26) from County Down was charged with the murder of James Morgan on 24 July 1997.

[Later a second man was also charged with the killing.]

Tuesday 28 July 1998

The Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act became law. The legislation allowed for the early release of paramilitary prisoners. Only prisoners who were members of organisations that were observing ceasefires could benefit from the legislation. Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, declared that the Irish Republican Army (IRA), Ulster Defence Association (UDA), and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), were inactive.

[There was criticism of this decision by those who highlighted continuing violence by these organisations.]

Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), announced that the Union Flag would not be flown outside RUC stations on public holidays.

 

Flanagan said that this would bring RUC policy on the matter into line with the rest of the United Kingdom (UK). [Some Unionists reacted angrily to the announcement.

As part of a government reshuffle of ministerial posts, John McFall replaced Tony Worthington at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO).

Wednesday 28 July 1999

Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, retained her position in a British government reshuffle that left all but one member of Tony Blair’s cabinet in place. Mowlam had earlier briefed journalists that she wanted to stay in post to complete the Good Friday Agreement. Peter Robinson, then deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), called the decision “a disaster”, however, Nationalists welcomed the development.

Relatives of the 14 men shot dead and 13 people wounded by British soldiers in Derry on 30 January 1972 expressed disappointment at an Appeal Court ruling that the soldiers who opened fire would not be named during the proceedings of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry.

——————————————

Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the death of the following people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die

– Thomas Campbell

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live forever

– To the Paramilitaries –

There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

4  People lost their lives on the 28th  July between 1972 – 1998

——————————————

28 July 1972

Seamus Cassidy, (22)

Catholic

Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)

Died one day after being shot by sniper while sitting in parked car outside Starry Plough Bar, New Lodge Road, Belfast.

————————————————————–

28 July 1972

Philip Maguire,  (55)

Catholic

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)

Found shot in his firm’s van, Carrowreagh Road, Dundonald, Belfast.

————————————————————–

28 July 1979
James McCann,  (20)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot while walking along Obins Street, Portadown, County Armagh.

————————————————————–

28 July 1988

Michael Matthews,  (37) nfNI

Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Died one day after being injured during land mine attack on British Army (BA) / Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) foot patrol, Cullyhanna, County Armagh.

William ” Billy “Stobie 1950 – 12 Dec 2001

William “Billy” Stobie

———————————————

The views and opinions expressed in this documentary/ies and page are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland.

They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors

———————————————

William “Billy” Stobie (1950 – 12 December 2001) was an Ulster Defence Association (UDA) quartermaster and RUC Special Branch informer  who was involved in the shootings of student Brian Adam Lambert in 1987 and solicitor Pat Finucane in 1989.

See Pat Finucane

His 1990 admissions, to journalist Neil Mulholland, provided new information which led, in February 1999, to British Irish Rights Watch submitting a confidential report to the British Government.

This in turn would lead to the reopening of the Stevens Enquiry, which uncovered state/paramilitary collusion at a level “way beyond” what Sir John Stevens had originally reported.

William Stobie
William Stobie.jpg

Stobie leaving court in 2001
Born William Stobie
1950
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Died 12 December 2001 (age 51)
Glencairn estate, Belfast
Cause of death Multiple gunshot wounds
Nationality British
Organization Ulster Defence Association
Known for Special Branch agent
Title Quartermaster
Religion Protestantism

Early life

Stobie was a native of loyalist west Belfast who joined the UDA for the first time around the time of its foundation in 1971. After a short spell he left and joined the British Army, serving outside Northern Ireland. Returning to Belfast when his spell in the army ended he rejoined the UDA and served the organisation as an armourer.

Stobie had initially applied to join the Ulster Volunteer Force but was rejected by that organisation, which feared that he might be a government agent due to his time in the army, and instead rejoined the UDA, joining A Company of the UDA West Belfast Brigade in Highfield.

Brian Adam Lambert

On 8 November 1987, the IRA detonated a powerful bomb at the Enniskillen Remembrance Sunday ceremony killing eleven.

enniskillenpoppydayexplosion25thanniv011

See Enniskillen Remembrance Bomb

There was no immediate direct reprisal, partially as a result of an appeal by Gordon Wilson, father of one of the victims. The exception to this was when Brian Adam Lambert was mistakenly targeted and shot the following day at a building site in Highfield, Belfast. He was a 19-year-old Protestant student with no criminal record or paramilitary links, but was assumed to have been a Catholic.

At the Stevens Enquiry (“Overview & Recommendations”), Stobie admitted supplying the guns for the attack and driving Stephen Harbinson in the getaway car. Both Stobie and Harbinson stated they were sickened by the mistake and for the first time Stobie realised that the UDA was unprofessional. Harbinson was also arrested; he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. Following his release under the Good Friday Agreement he skipped bail on drug dealing charges in Northern Ireland. He was rearrested on the Costa Del Sol on separate charges of drug trafficking, kidnapping and arms possession. Once more he was given bail and disappeared.

Discovery as an informer

Stobie’s informing did not go unnoticed and in May 1992 he narrowly avoided being killed by other members of the West Belfast Brigade who suspected he was a “tout”. At the time Stobie was operating the switchboard at Circle Taxis on the Shankill when their offices were raided by the police and the owners questioned about a taxi that had been ordered to the Glencairn estate.

MadDogAdair.jpg

This car had been hijacked whilst on that call by the UVF and used in an abortive operation by the group. West Belfast brigadier Johnny Adair was told by a friend that Stobie had told the police about the incident and it was decided that he would be shot as an informer.

On the evening of 21 May 1992, Stobie was called to the house of Jackie Thompson on Snugville Street where a party was being held, with Adair and fellow UDA members Donald Hodgen, Tommy Potts and others in attendance. Stobie did not attend so Thompson and Hodgen drove up to his house and dragged him out. They took him to an alleyway where Adair was waiting and after a struggle a fleeing Stobie was shot five times in the back and legs.

However he survived the attack despite his injuries.

Pat Finucane

Patrick Finucane

According to Henry McDonald and Jim Cusack, Stobie provided the gun used to kill Pat Finucane and they further claimed that once he gave the weapon to the hit team he called the RUC to let them know that a killing was about to take place.

In April 1999, as part of the Stevens Enquiry, Stobie was arrested and charged with Finucane’s murder. In June that year, as agreed, journalist Ed Moloney published Stobie’s version of the circumstances of Finucane’s death.The charges were later commuted to aiding and abetting the murder. Stobie’s trial eventually collapsed because of the failure of Neil Mulholland, by now Northern Ireland Office Press Officer, to take the witness stand.

See Pat Finucane

Stevens 3

Stobie was rearrested and charged with murder as a result of Stevens 3. At his trial the chief witness, Neil Mullholland, refused to take the witness stand and Stobie was released. In his overview and recommendations John Stevens stated:

“I have uncovered enough evidence to lead me to believe that the murders of Patrick Finucane and Brian Adam Lambert could have been prevented”.

Death

In 2001, Stobie let it be known that he would be willing to testify at an inquiry into Finucane’s killing, stating that he would not name loyalists but would name their RUC “handlers”. By declaring that he supported the Finucane family’s demand for a public inquiry he effectively made himself a target for his former UDA comrades.

On 12 December 2001, Stobie was shot dead outside his home at Forthriver Road, Glencairn, Belfast. The Red Hand Defenders (RHD) claimed responsibility. Stobie’s killers, who shot him five times, had actually belonged to the UDA and were using the Red Hand Defenders cover name.

In a statement made by a masked paramilitary after the killing it was claimed:

“Billy Stobie could have stayed on the Shankill and been left alone had he not spoken out on Ulster Television and backed the public inquiry [into the Finucane killing,  He betrayed his comrades by doing that and for that reason he paid for his treason”

 

 

14th April – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

                                                                                           14th April   

———————————-      

Friday 14 April 1972

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded 23 bombs at locations all over Northern Ireland.

[Public Records 1972 – Released 1 January 2003: Current Situation Report No 118 by A.W.Stephens, then Head of Defence Secretariat 10 at the Ministry of Defence, providing details of security incidents during the previous 24 hours in Northern Ireland.]

Wednesday 14 April 1982

The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) carried out a raid on the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) headquarters in Belfast.

The raid uncovered ammunition and gun parts. Four leading members of the UDA were arrested.

[At this time the UDA was not a ‘proscribed’ organisation. It was only declared illegal on 10 August 1992.]

Sunday 14 April 1991

Bishop Desmond Tutu, from South Africa, attended an Anglican conference in Newcastle, County Down. Tutu said that Sinn Féin (SF) should be invited to attend the forthcoming talks on the future of Northern Ireland.

Tuesday 14 April 1992

Michael Newman

A British Army (BA) recruiting sergeant died after being shot by the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) in Derby, England.

[This was the first killing by the INLA in Britain since March 1979.]

Thursday 14 April 1994

Teresa Clinton

Teresa Clinton (34), a Catholic Civilian, was shot dead by the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), during a gun attack on her home, off Ormeau Road, Belfast.

Her husband had been a former Sinn Féin (SF) election candidate.

The UFF carried out another gun attack and wounded of two Catholic civilians.

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) offered to clarify, for the benefit of SF, specific points related to the Downing Street Declaration (DSD).

Friday 14 April 1995

The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) discovered 40 weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition which were believed to belong to the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). The cache was found in Holywood, County Down.

[Three men were arrested following the discovery. A second cache of arms was later found in the town.]

Monday 14 April 1997

There was an arson attack on St Peter’s Catholic church in Stoneyford, County Antrim. The chapel was badly damaged by the fire.

A man (24) was seriously injured in what was believed to be a Loyalist ‘punishment’ shooting that took place in the Ballysally estate in Coleraine, County Derry.

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) was believed to be responsible for a ‘punishment’ beating attack on a man in Derry. The man subsequently went into hiding.

See Corporal Killings

Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, referred the case of Patrick Kane to the Court of Appeal. Kane had been convicted of, and was serving a life sentence for, the murder of corporals Derek Wood and David Howes on 19 March 1988.

Tuesday 14 April 1998

In the Republic of Ireland the Irish authorities released nine Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoners from Portlaoise Prison. On their release the prisoners pledged their “total support” for the leadership of Sinn Féin (SF).

[The releases were criticised by Unionists and by the Garda Representative Association.]

Wednesday 14 April 1999

Liz O’Donnell, then Irish Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, acknowledged that the Hillsborough Declaration would not be the basis for resolving the decommissioning impasse.

Saturday 14 April 2001

Bomb Explosion in London

There was a bomb explosion at a Post Office delivery depot in north London at 11.28pm (2328BST).

There had been no warning of the bomb but no one was injured in the explosion which caused “minor” damage to the building at The Hyde in Hendon. The “real” Irish Republican Army (rIRA) was thought to have been responsible for the attack.

 

———————————————

Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the death of the following people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die

– Thomas Campbell

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live forever

– To the Paramilitaries –

There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

8 People lost their lives on the 14th  April   between 1973– 1994

———————————————–

14 April 1973


Robert Millen,   (23)

Protestant
Status: Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot from passing car while standing in McClure Street, off Ormeau Road, Belfast

———————————————–

14 April 1974
Anthony Pollen,  (27)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Undercover British Army (BA) member. Shot while observing Republican Easter commemoration parade, Meenan Square, Bogside, Derry.

———————————————–

14 April 1975


Stafford Mateer,   (32)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: not known (nk)
Died two days after being shot while driving his car, at the junction of Albertbridge Road and Woodstock Road, Belfast.

———————————————–

14 April 1978


James McKee,  (61)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot while driving school bus, Creggan, near Pomeroy, County Tyrone.

———————————————–

14 April 1978

Robert McCullough,   (27)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot at his home, Rathmore Drive, Rathcoole, Newtownabbey, County Antrim.

———————————————–

14 April 1986


White, Keith (20)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
Died 15 days after being shot by plastic bullet, during street disturbances, Woodhouse Street, Portadown, County Armagh.

———————————————–

14 April 1992


Michael Newman,   (34)

nfNIB
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Shot shortly after leaving British Army (BA) recruiting office, Derby, England.

———————————————–

14 April 1994


Teresa Clinton,  (34)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot during gun attack on her home, Balfour Avenue, off Ormeau Road, Belfast. Her husband a Sinn Fein (SF) member.

———————————————–

 

John Gregg (UDA) The man who shot Gerry Adam?

 John Gregg

UDA

John Gregg (1957 – 1 February 2003) was a senior member of the UDA/UFF loyalist paramilitary organisation in Northern Ireland. In 1984, Gregg seriously wounded Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams in an assassination attempt. From the 1990s until his shooting death in 2003 by rival associates, Gregg served as brigadier of the UDA’s South East Antrim Brigade. Widely known as a man with a fearsome reputation, Gregg was considered a “hawk” in loyalist circles

———————————————

The views and opinions expressed in this documentary/ies and page are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland.

They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors

———————————————

John Gregg
John Gregg UDA.jpg

John “Grugg” Gregg in 1990
Birth name John Gregg
Nickname(s) “Grugg”, “The Reaper”
Born 1957
Died 1 February 2003 (aged 45–46)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Buried at Carnmoney Cemetery
Allegiance Ulster Defence Association
Service/branch UDA South East Antrim Brigade
Years of service 1971-2003
Rank Brigadier
Conflict The Troubles
Relations Stuart Gregg (son

Early life

Gregg was born in 1957 and raised in a Protestant family from the Tigers Bay area of North Belfast. Gregg when explaining his family background, revealed that his father, regarded as a quiet man, had trust in the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and British Army but joined the loyalist vigilante groups set up around the start of the Troubles ostensibly to protect the Protestant community from attacks by republicans. His own earliest memory of the Troubles was the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association marches in Derry, a movement to which Gregg and his family were strongly opposed.

Ulster Defence Association

Gregg joined the Ulster Young Militants (UYM), the youth wing of the loyalist paramilitary Ulster Defence Association (UDA) at the age of 14.  He spent six months in jail for rioting in 1977. He later became part of the UDA South East Antrim Brigade. Members of this brigade were believed to be behind the killings of Catholic postman Danny McColgan, Protestant teenager Gavin Brett and Trevor Lowry (the latter kicked to death in the mistaken belief he was a Catholic), and a spate of pipe bomb attacks on the homes of Catholics.

Assassination attempt on Gerry Adams

On 14 March 1984, he severely wounded Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams in an attack supposedly ordered as a response to the earlier killings of Ulster Unionist Party politicians Robert Bradford and Edgar Graham.

Gregg, at the time the head of the UDA commando in Rathcoole, was in charge of a three-man hit team that pulled up alongside Adams’ car near Belfast City Hall and opened fire injuring Adams and his three fellow passengers, who nonetheless escaped to seek treatment at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast.

Policeman outside ward where Gerry Adams was treated
Police guard outside hospital were Adams is treated

Gregg and his team were apprehended almost immediately by a British Army patrol that opened fire on them before ramming their car.[4] The attack had been known in advance by security forces due to a tip-off from informants within Rathcoole; Adams and his co-passengers had survived in part because Royal Ulster Constabulary officers, acting on the informants’ information, had replaced much of the ammunition in the UDA’s Rathcoole weapons dump with low-velocity bullets.

Gregg was jailed for 18 years; however, he only served half his sentence and was released in 1993.

When asked by the BBC in prison if he regretted anything about the shooting, his reply was:

“Only that I didn’t succeed.”

Brigadier

UDA mural in Gregg’s Rathcoole stronghold

Following his release from prison, Gregg returned to Rathcoole where he again became an important figure, taking a central role in the illegal drug trade, with his Rathcoole stronghold a centre of narcotics.Sometime after the Combined Loyalist Military Command of 1994 he succeeded Joe English, who had emerged as a leading figure in the Ulster Democratic Party, as brigadier of the South-East Antrim UDA.

Under Gregg the South-East Antrim Brigade were prepared to ignore the terms of the loyalist ceasefire, such as on 25 April 1997 when he dispatched a five-man team to Carrickfergus to set fire to a Catholic church in retaliation for a similar attack on a Protestant church in East Belfast (this earlier attack had actually been organised by dissident loyalists seeking to provoke the UDA into returning to violence).[9] Gregg’s fearsome reputation earned him the nickname “the Reaper” and he bore a tattoo of the Grim Reaper on his back as a tribute.

Gregg played the bass drum in the UDA-affiliated flute band Cloughfern Young Conquerors, a loyalist flute band which police claimed regularly caused trouble at Orange Order parades. In late August 1997 this band was one of a number of similar flute bands to travel to Derry for the annual Apprentice Boys of Derry march through the city centre.

As the band prepared to take the train home that evening they met members of the Shankill Protestant Boys, another band in town for the parade that was affiliated to the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). Brawls between the two had been frequent and tensions had been growing between the UDA and UVF leading to a drink-fuelled pitched battle between the two groups at the train station.

During the course of the melee a Shankill Protestant Boys member managed to gouge out Gregg’s eye, although it is also claimed that Gregg lost his eye due to a fight with republicans at the same parade.

Anti-Catholic campaigns

Along with Jackie McDonald and Billy McFarland, fellow brigadiers on the UDA’s Inner Council, Gregg was lacking in enthusiasm for the Belfast Agreement when it appeared in 1998. Throughout 1999 his brigade continued to be active, undertaking a pipe bomb campaign against Catholic homes whilst on 12 May members of his brigade shot and wounded a Catholic builder in Carrickfergus under the cover name “Protestant Liberation Force”. Much of this activity was inspired by Gregg’s personal hatred of Catholics.

A senior police source once described him as a man driven by “pure and absolute bigotry”.  Gregg was also characterised as “a bully, a racketeer, and a sectarian bigot who took particular delight in carrying out vicious punishment attacks and randomly targeting Roman Catholics.”

In 2000 he helped to ensure that a proposal before the Inner Council to initiate the decommissioning of weapons was rejected.

Having witnessed demographic shifts in Glengormley and Crumlin, traditionally loyalist majority towns that had come to have nationalist majorities on account of loyalists moving out of Belfast, he determined that the same thing would not happen in Carrickfergus and Larne and so launched a campaign of pipe bomb and arson attacks on Catholic homes there (despite these towns having very small Catholic populations).

The main target proved to be Danny O’Connor, a Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) representative on initially Larne Borough Council and then the Northern Ireland Assembly, whose home and office were attacked at least twelve times by Gregg’s men between 2000 and 2002. Protestant Trevor Lowry (aged 49) was beaten to death in Glengormley by UDA members under Gregg’s command on 11 April 2001 after he was mistaken for a Catholic. Catholic workman Gary Moore was killed in Monkstown in 2000 in another killing attributed to Gregg’s unit.

In late 2001, Gregg’s reign of terror in Rathcoole, where drug dealing, knee-capping and savage beatings were the norm, was challenged by local British Labour Party Councillor Mark Langhammer, who also objected to Gregg’s close links to neo-Nazi groups in Great Britain.

He called on the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to establish an auxiliary police “clinic” on the estate, which had no permanent police building, so as locals concerned about crime could have somewhere to go.  This followed in summer 2002 when a community centre was taken over for this purpose although Gregg’s UDA objected and daubed the building with the word “tout”.

On 4 September Langhammer’s car was blown up outside his Whiteabbey home by Gregg’s men, although Langhammer himself was asleep at the time and no one was injured.

Johnny Adair

Despite the continuing activity of his brigade, and his own earlier maiming, Gregg shared the reluctance of other brigadiers about what he saw as a coming war between the UVF and West Belfast brigadier Johnny Adair Nonetheless he was not keen to antagonise Adair and so, along with McFarland, McDonald and Jimbo Simpson, accepted his invitation to attended a “Loyalist Day of Culture” organised by Adair on the Lower Shankill on 19 August 2000. Old tensions resurfaced however, and after Adair’s men fought with UVF supporters at the Shankill’s Rex Bar, Adair launched a pogrom of the lower Shankill, forcing out all UVF members and their families and initiating a loyalist feud.[22]

Gregg initially remained aloof from the struggle and instead concentrated on his anti-Catholic campaign. However in the second half of 2002 he was dragged into the conflict after Adair made him a target in his own attempts to take full control of the UDA. A UDA member originally from the Woodvale Road had moved to Rathcoole where he had been beaten up after it emerged that he was a friend of Joe English, the former brigadier who had been exiled from the estate by Gregg for his anti-drugs stance.

As a result of the attack, three Woodvale UDA members went to Gregg and complained about the attack. Gregg took this as a threat and, after complaining to senior figures in the West Belfast UDA, ordered the three men to be kneecapped. The shootings raised some anger on the Shankill, where the three were well-liked figures, and Adair sought to exploit this as a method of getting rid of Gregg. He sought to portray Gregg as unstable and thuggish and spread a rumour that he was about to be replaced as brigadier.

By September 2002, Adair had even circulated stories to contacts in the media that Gregg was under death threat from the UDA. In late August, Adair had even managed to have Gregg stood down as Brigadier for “not being militant enough” and replaced by one of Adair’s own associates.

However, this proved short-lived. In October 2002, Gregg was one of the brigadiers who passed the resolution expelling Adair from the UDA for his involvement in the non-fatal shooting of Jim Gray

Adair ignored the expulsion, erecting “West Belfast UDA – Business as Usual” banners on the Shankill Road, whilst continuing his struggles with the remaining brigadiers, Gregg in particular. On 8 December a bomb was found under Gregg’s car, apparently placed there by one of Adair’s allies from the Loyalist Volunteer Force. 

Soon after two pipe bombs were thrown at Gregg’s house, and his friend Tommy Kirkham‘s house was shot at. In response, graffiti appeared around the walls of Rathcoole in December, stating:

“Daft Dog and White beware. The Reaper is coming for you”

as a threat to “Mad Dog” Adair and his ally John White A bomb attack on Adair’s house on 8 January 2003 was blamed on Gregg by White, although Adair himself was returned to prison two days later after a dossier detailing his drug-dealing and racketeering activities was shown to Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Paul Murphy

Shooting death and aftermath

A mural commemorating Gregg and Carson in Cloughfern

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 John Gregg – Funeral
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1 February 2003, along with another UDA member, Robert “Rab” Carson, Gregg was shot dead on Nelson Street, in the old Sailortown district near the Belfast docks, while travelling in a red Toyota taxi after returning from Glasgow where he regularly went to watch Rangers F.C. games. Gregg had been a regular visitor to Ibrox Park for a number of years,

often in the company of Michael Stone, and had even picked up a conviction for violence at an Old Firm match. Gregg’s movements were known to C Company member Alan McCullough who, receiving instruction from Adair (then in HMP Maghaberry), arranged for a hit team to kill Gregg and his associate as the taxi took them from the port of Belfast.

When the taxi stopped at traffic lights close to the motorway, it was rammed by another taxi which had been hijacked earlier on the Shankill Road. Masked gunmen immediately opened fire on the occupants with automatic weapons. Gregg, seated in the backseat, was hit at close range and died instantly.

A mortally-wounded Carson died later in hospital, and taxi driver William McKnight was seriously hurt. Gregg’s 18-year-old son Stuart and another man were also in the vehicle but neither sustained injuries in the shooting attack.  Carson was described by UDA sources as a “dear friend” of Gregg’s and a junior member of the South-East Antrim Brigade.

South East Antrim Brigade mural in Ballymena honouring Gregg

Gregg’s killing proved to be the undoing of Adair. Gregg was the most senior UDA member killed since South Belfast brigadier John McMichael was blown up by the IRA in 1987. Despite his reputation for gangsterism, Gregg’s failed attack on Gerry Adams had afforded him legendary status and, under the direction of Jackie McDonald, the remaining UDA brigadiers concluded that Adair had to be removed.

Gregg was given a paramilitary funeral which was attended by thousands of mourners, including senior UDA members Jackie McDonald, Jim Gray, Sammy Duddy and Michael Stone. Senior members of the Ulster Volunteer Force and Red Hand Commando also attended. A volley of shots was fired over his coffin by UDA gunmen outside his Rathcoole home. The coffin was draped in the Ulster flag and the flag of the UFF. Members of the Cloughfern Young Conquerors dressed in uniform accompanied the coffin.

Afterwards a lone piper led the cortege to Carnmoney Cemetery where he was buried. At the service on 6 February, UVF/RHC representatives joined the UDA leadership in a show of anti-Adair solidarity. That same night Jackie McDonald’s forces invaded the lower Shankill and ran those members of C Company that had remained loyal to Adair, who was still in prison, out of the city. In May of that same year, Alan McCullough was himself killed by the UDA.

Following the conclusion of the feud with Adair the UDA reconstituted its ceasefire in what they christened the “Gregg initiative”. The juxtaposition of this initiative with the name of Gregg was condemned by the mother of a Catholic who had been killed by members of the South-East Antrim Brigade in 2000 as she argued:

“it’s sickening to call it the Gregg initiative when he was a ruthless terrorist….Everyone goes on about Johnny Adair but they’re all as bad as each other”.

In November 2011, Stuart Gregg received £400,000 compensation for psychological trauma due to having witnessed his father’s murder.

Personal life

Gregg was married with one son and two stepdaughters

Pat Finucane – 12th February 1989 Executed by the UFF

Patrick Finucane

Image result for patrick finucane

Patrick Finucane (1949 – 12 February 1989) was a Northern Irish human rights lawyer killed by loyalist paramilitaries acting in collusion with the British government intelligence service MI5

In 2011 British Prime Minister David Cameron met with Pat Finucane’s family and admitted the collusion, although no member of the British security services has yet been prosecuted.

Image result for David Cameron belfast

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 – Disclaimer –

The views and opinions expressed in these pages/documentaries are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland. They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors.

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Finucane’s killing was one of the most controversial during the Troubles in Northern IrelandFinucane came to prominence due to successfully challenging the British government in several important human rights cases during the 1980s. 

He was shot fourteen times as he sat eating a meal at his Belfast home with his three children and his wife, who was also wounded during the attack.

In September 2004, an Ulster Defence Association member, and at the time of the murder a paid informant for the Royal Ulster Constabulary, Ken Barrett, pleaded guilty to his murder. 

After much international pressure, the British government eventually announced that an inquiry would be held. This was one result of an agreement made between the British and Irish governments at Weston Park in 2001. The British government said it would comply with the terms agreed by the two governments at Weston Park.

They agreed to appoint an international judge that would review Finucane’s case and if evidence of collusion was found, a public inquiry would be recommended.  The British government reneged on this promise to Finucane’s family after the international judge found evidence of collusion.[10] The Daily Telegraph quoted Prime Minister David Cameron saying:

“[there are] people in buildings all around here who won’t let it happen”.

Two public investigations concluded that elements of the British security forces colluded in Finucane’s murder and there have been high-profile calls for a public inquiry. However, in October 2011, it was announced that a planned public inquiry would be replaced by a less wide-ranging review.

Image result for Desmond Lorenz de Silva

This review, led by Desmond Lorenz de Silva, released a report in December 2012 acknowledging that the case entailed:

“a wilful and abject failure by successive Governments”.

Finucane’s family called the De Silva report a “sham

Background

Born into a Catholic family in 1949, Finucane was the eldest child, with six brothers and one sister. He graduated from Trinity College, Dublin in 1973.

One of his brothers, John, a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) member, was killed in a car crash in the Falls Road, Belfast, in 1972.

Another brother, Dermot, successfully contested attempts to extradite him to Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland for his part in the killing of a prison officer; he was one of 38 IRA prisoners who escaped from HMP Maze in 1983.

A third brother Seamus was the fiancé of Mairead Farrell, one of the IRA trio shot dead by the Special Air Service (SAS) in Gibraltar in March 1988.  Seamus was the leader of an IRA unit in west Belfast before his arrest in 1976 with Bobby Sands and seven other IRA men, during an attempt to destroy Balmoral’s furniture store in south Belfast.

Image result for Finucane's wife, Geraldine,

He was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment. Finucane’s wife, Geraldine, whom he met at Trinity College, is the daughter of middle-class Protestants; together they had three children.

His uncle Brendan ‘Paddy’ Finucane was an ace fighter pilot praised by Churchill for his heroism.

Pat Finnucane with Patrick McGeown

 

Pat Finucane’s best-known client was the IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands. He also represented other IRA and Irish National Liberation Army hunger strikers who died during the 1981 Maze prison protest, Brian Gillen, and the widow of Gervaise McKerr, one of three men shot dead by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in a shoot-to-kill incident in 1982.

In 1988, he represented Pat McGeown, who was charged in connection with the Corporals killings, and was photographed with McGeown outside Crumlin Road Courthouse.

Killing

Finucane was shot dead at his home in Fortwilliam Drive, north Belfast, by Ken Barrett and another masked man using a Browning Hi-Power 9mm pistol and a .38 revolver respectively. He was hit 14 times.

Image result for Browning Hi-Power 9mm pistol

The two gunmen knocked down the front door with a sledgehammer and entered the kitchen where Finucane had been having a Sunday meal with his family; they immediately opened fire and shot him twice, knocking him to the floor. Then while standing over him, the leading gunman fired 12 bullets into his face at close range.

Gerldine Finucane

Finucane’s wife Geraldine was slightly wounded in the shooting attack which their three children witnessed as they hid underneath the table. The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) immediately launched an investigation into the killing.

The senior officer heading the CID team was Detective Superintendent Alan Simpson, who set up a major incident room inside the RUC D Division Antrim Road station. Simpson’s investigation ran for six weeks and he later stated that from the beginning, there had been a noticeable lack of intelligence coming from the other agencies regarding the killing.

Finucane’s killing was widely suspected by human rights groups to have been perpetrated in collusion with officers of the RUC and, in 2003, the British Government Stevens Report stated that the killing was indeed carried out with the collusion of police in Northern Ireland.

The Ulster Defence Association/Ulster Freedom Fighters (UDA/UFF) claimed they killed the 39-year-old solicitor because he was a high-ranking officer in the IRA. Police at his inquest said they had no evidence to support this claim. Finucane had represented republicans in many high-profile cases, but he had also represented loyalists.

Image result for sean o'callaghan ira

Several members of his family had republican links, but the family strongly denied Finucane was a member of the IRA. Informer Sean O’Callaghan has claimed that he attended an IRA finance meeting alongside Finucane and Gerry Adams in Letterkenny in 1980.

However both Finucane and Adams have consistently denied being IRA members.

In Finucane’s case, both the RUC and the Stevens Report found that he was not a member of the IRA. Republicans have strongly criticised the claims made by O’Callaghan in his book ‘The Informer’ and subsequent newspaper articles. One Republican source says O’Callaghan:

“…has been forced to overstate his former importance in the IRA and to make increasingly outlandish accusations against individual republicans.”

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Patrick Finucane and State collusion

 

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Later investigations into the murder

In 1999, the third inquiry of John Stevens into allegations of collusion between the security forces and Loyalist paramilitaries concluded that there was such collusion in the murders of Finucane and Brian Adam Lambert.

As a result of the inquiry, RUC Special Branch agent and loyalist quartermaster William Stobie, a member of the Ulster Defence Association was later charged with supplying one of the pistols used to kill Finucane, but his trial collapsed because he claimed that he had given information about his actions to his Special Branch handlers.

The pistol belonged to the UDA, which at the time was a legal organisation under British law. A further suspect, Brian Nelson, was a member of the Army’s Force Research Unit. He had provided information about Finucane’s whereabouts, and also claimed that he had alerted his handlers about the planned killing.

See : Force Research Unit 

In 2000, Amnesty International demanded that the then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Mandelson, open a public inquiry into events surrounding his death. In 2001 as a result of the Weston Park talks, a retired Canadian Judge Peter Cory was appointed by the British and Irish governments to investigate the allegations of collusion by the RUC, British Army and the Gardaí in the killing of Finucane, Robert Hamill and other individuals during the Troubles.

Cory reported in April 2004, and recommended public enquiries be established including the case of the Finucane killing.

In 2004, a former policeman, Ken Barrett, pleaded guilty to Finucane’s murder. His conviction came after a taped confession to the police, lost since 1991, re-surfaced.

In June 2005, the then Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern told a US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland that “everyone knows” the UK government was involved in the murder of Pat Finucane.

On 17 May 2006, the United States House of Representatives then passed a resolution calling on the British government to hold an independent public inquiry into Finucane’s killing.

Initial investigations

A public inquiry was announced by the British Government in 2007, but it was halted under the Inquiries Act 2005, which empowers the government to block scrutiny of state actions. Finucane’s family criticised its limited remit and announced that they would not co-operate. Judge Peter Cory also strongly criticised the Act.

Amnesty International logo.svg

Amnesty International has reiterated its call for an independent inquiry, and have called on members of the British judiciary not to serve on the inquiry if it is held under the terms of the Act.

Finucane’s widow, Geraldine (born 1950), has written letters repeating this request to all the senior judges in Great Britain, and took out a full-page advertisement in the newspaper The Times to draw attention to the campaign. In June 2007, it was reported that no police or soldiers would be charged in connection with the killing.

On 11 October 2011, members of the Finucane family met with Prime Minister David Cameron in Downing Street. Cameron provided them with an official apology for state collusion into Pat Finucane’s death. Following the meeting, Finucane’s son Michael said that he and the family had been “genuinely shocked” to learn that the Cory recommendation of a public enquiry, previously accepted by Tony Blair, would not be followed, and that a review of the Stevens and Cory casefiles would be undertaken instead.

 Geraldine Finucane described the proposal as:

“nothing less than an insult…a shoddy, half-hearted alternative to a proper public inquiry”.

The following day, the official apology was given publicly in the House of Commons by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Owen Paterson.[35]

De Silva report

Sir Desmond de Silva

On 12 December 2012, the government released the Pat Finucane Review, the results of the inquiry conducted by Sir Desmond de Silva.

The report documented extensive evidence of State collaboration with Loyalist gunmen, including the selection of targets, and concluded that “there was a wilful and abject failure by successive governments to provide the clear policy and legal framework necessary for agent-handling operations to take place effectively within the law.”

 

William Stobie.jpg

See : William Stobie 

 

Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged “shocking levels of collusion” and issued an apology.

However, Finucane’s family denounced the De Silva report as a “sham” and a “suppression of the truth” into which they were allowed no input.

In May 2013, state documents dated 2011 disclosed through the courts revealed that David Cameron’s former director of security and intelligence, Ciarán Martin, had warned him that senior members of Margaret Thatcher’s government may have been aware of “a systemic problem with loyalist agents” at the time of Pat Finucane’s death but had done nothing about it.

Posthumous

Finucane’s law firm, Madden & Finucane Solicitors, led by Peter Madden, continues to act for those it considers to have been victims of mistreatment by the State, or their survivors. The Pat Finucane Centre (PFC), named in his honour, is a human rights advocacy and lobbying entity in Northern Ireland.

h

 – Disclaimer –

The views and opinions expressed in these pages/documentaries are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland. They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors.

Sean Graham bookmakers’ shooting

Sean Graham bookmakers’ shooting

5 February 1992

On 5 February 1992, a mass shooting took place at the Sean Graham bookmaker‘s shop on the Lower Ormeau Road in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Members of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), a loyalist paramilitary group, opened fire on the customers, killing five civilians and wounding another nine. The shop was in an Irish nationalist area, and all of the victims were local Catholic civilians. The UDA claimed responsibility using the cover name “Ulster Freedom Fighters”, and said the shooting was retaliation for the Teebane bombing, which had been carried out by the Provisional IRA less than three weeks before

 

Background

 

Ulster Freedom Fighters insignia in the Annadale Flats area, January 2012

The start of 1992 had witnessed an intensification in the campaign of violence being carried out by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) under their UFF covername. The group’s first killing that year was on 9 January when Catholic civilian Phillip Campbell was shot dead at his place of work near Moira by a Lisburn-based UDA unit.[1] The same group killed another Catholic civilian, Paul Moran, at the end of the month and a few days later taxi driver Paddy Clarke was killed at his north Belfast home by members of the UDA West Belfast Brigade.[2]

However, the Inner Council of the UDA, which contained the six brigadiers that controlled the organisation, felt that these one-off killings were not sending a strong enough message to republicans and so it sanctioned a higher-profile attack in which a number of people would be killed at once.[2] On this basis the go-ahead was given to attack Sean Graham bookmaker’s shop on the Irish nationalist Lower Ormeau Road. This was a major arterial route in the city and was near the UDA stronghold of Annadale Flats.[2] According to David Lister and Hugh Jordan, the bookmaker’s shop was chosen by West Belfast Brigadier and Inner Council member Johnny Adair because he had strong personal ties with the commanders of the Annadale UDA.[3] A 1993 report commissioned by RUC Special Branch also claimed that Adair was the driving force behind the attack.[3]

The shooting

Names of the dead commemorated on a plaque in Hatfield Street

The attack occurred at 2:20 in the afternoon.[4] A car parked on University Avenue facing the bookmakers and two men, wearing boiler suits and balaclavas, left the car and crossed the Ormeau Road to the shop.[5] One was armed with a VZ.58 Czechoslovak semi-automatic rifle and the other with a 9mm pistol. They entered the shop—in which there were 15 customers—and opened fire, unleashing a total of 44 shots on the assembled victims.[6]

Five Catholic men and boys were killed: Christy Doherty (52), Jack Duffin (66), James Kennedy (15), Peter Magee (18) and William McManus (54).[7] Nine others were wounded, one critically.[4] Four of them died at the scene although 15-year-old Kennedy survived until he reached the hospital, his final words being reported as “tell my mummy that I love her”.[8] Kennedy’s mother Kathleen died two years later after becoming a recluse. Her husband, James (Sr.), blamed his wife’s death on the shooting by claiming “the bullets that killed James didn’t just travel in distance, they travelled in time. Some of those bullets never stopped travelling”.[8]

One of the wounded described the shooting to British journalist Peter Taylor:

“There was a right crowd in [the betting shop] and I cracked a joke with a couple of them – they were like that, always laughing and carrying on. I had only been in for about twenty or twenty-five minutes when the shooting started – I was standing next to the door with a docket in my hand studying the form. At first I thought it was a hold-up but then the shooting started and somebody yelled, ‘Hit the deck’. I just lay there and prayed that the shooting would stop. It seemed to go on for a lifetime. There wasn’t a sound for a few seconds – everybody was so stunned, but then the screaming started. People were yelling out in agony. You could hardly see anything. The room was full of gun smoke and the smell would have choked you”.[9]

In a separate incident, a unit of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) had travelled to the area at the time of the attack with the intention of killing a local Sinn Féin activist based on intelligence they had received that he returned home about that time every day. The attack was abandoned, however, when the car carrying the UVF members was passed by speeding Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) vehicles and ambulances. The UVF members, who had already retrieved their weapons for the attack, were said to be livid with the UDA for not co-ordinating with them beforehand and effectively spoiling their chance to kill a leading local republican.[10]

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The Victims

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05 February 1992


Peter Magee,  (18)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot during gun attack on Sean Graham’s Bookmaker’s shop, Ormeau Road, Belfast

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05 February 1992


 Jack Duffin,   (66)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot during gun attack on Sean Graham’s Bookmaker’s shop, Ormeau Road, Belfast

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05 February 1992


James Kennedy,  (15)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot during gun attack on Sean Graham’s Bookmaker’s shop, Ormeau Road, Belfast

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05 February 1992


William McManus,   (54)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot during gun attack on Sean Graham’s Bookmaker’s shop, Ormeau Road, Belfast

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05 February 1992


Christy Doherty,  (52)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot during gun attack on Sean Graham’s Bookmaker’s shop, Ormeau Road, Belfast

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Aftermath

Memorial stone laid in February 2012

A UDA statement in the aftermath of the attack claimed that the killings were justified as the Lower Ormeau was “one of the IRA‘s most active areas”.[8] The statement also included the phrase “remember Teebane”, suggesting that they intended the killings as retaliation for the Teebane bombing in County Tyrone less than three weeks earlier. In that attack, the IRA had killed eight Protestant men who were repairing a British Army base.[11] The same statement had also been yelled by the gunmen as they ran from the betting shop.[8] Alex Kerr, who was then UDA Brigadier for South Belfast, released a second statement about a month after the attack in which he sought to justify the killings. Kerr stated that “the IRA was extremely active in the lower Ormeau and the nationalist population there shielded them. They paid the price for Teebane”. He added that if there were any further bombings like that at Teebane then the UDA would retaliate in the same way as at Sean Graham’s.[12]

See Teebane Bus Bomb

teebane2
Teebane Bus Bomb

 

 

The idea that the killings were justified because of Teebane was shunned by Rev. Ivor Smith, a Presbyterian minister who was based in the area and who worked with the families of the bomb victims. He said that the UDA claim was “like a knife through the heart. We were absolutely appalled at the thought that somebody would try to do something like that and justify it by bringing in Teebane. As far as the families were concerned, it was very definitely not ‘in my name'”.[11] A letter expressing deep sympathy from Betty Gilchrist, a Protestant whose husband had been killed at Teebane, was read out at the funeral of Jack Duffin.[12] Alasdair McDonnell, a general practitioner and Social Democratic and Labour Party councillor in the area, also suggested that the attack had been in response to Teebane. However, he was strongly rebuked by the Lower Ormeau Residents Action Group, a residents’ association with Sinn Féin links, for seemingly justifying the killings with this claim.[13]

When a July 1992 Orange Order march passed the scene of the shooting, Orangemen shouted pro-UDA slogans and held aloft five fingers as a taunt to residents over the five deaths.[4][14] The claim is corroborated by Henry McDonald and Jim Cusack. The images of Orangemen and loyalist flute band members holding up five fingers as they passed the shop were beamed around the world and was a public relations disaster for the Order.[15] Patrick Mayhew, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said that the actions of the marchers “would have disgraced a tribe of cannibals”.[14] The incident led to a more concerted effort by Lower Ormeau residents to have the marches banned from the area, which later succeeded.[15]

No one was ever convicted for the killings although, locally, blame fell on Joe Bratty and his sidekick Raymond Elder, the two leading UDA figures in the Annadale Flats.[12] McDonald and Cusack suggest that, whilst Bratty had been the brains behind the attack, the gunmen he had used were actually from East Belfast and that a UDA member later convicted of supplying one of the guns had been at the shooting.[12] Lister and Jordan, however, claim that one of the gunmen was actually from west Belfast and was supplied to Bratty by Adair.[3] Bratty was charged with involvement in the attack although the charges were withdrawn.[16] Following his release from custody, Adair organised a lavish celebration party for Bratty in Scotland where he allegedly gave Bratty a gold ring inscribed with the initials UFF.[3]

The IRA did not immediately retaliate although in a statement they claimed to know the identity of the killers and claimed that they would “take them out when the time was right”.[17] When Bratty and Elder were shot dead by the IRA in July 1994, revellers in the Lower Ormeau hailed the attack as revenge for Sean Graham’s.[18]

On 5 February 2002 a plaque was erected on the side of the bookmaker’s shop in Hatfield Street carrying the names of the five victims and the Irish language inscription Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a n-anamacha (“May God have mercy on their souls”). A small memorial garden was later added.[19] The unveiling ceremony, which took place on the tenth anniversary of the attack, was accompanied by a two-minute silence and was attended by relatives of the dead and survivors of the attack.[20] A new memorial stone was laid on 5 February 2012 to coincide with the publication of a booklet calling for justice for the killings.[21]

Historical Enquiries Team findings

The attack was one of a number to be investigated by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) in 2010. It found that a Browning pistol used by the gunmen had been given to them by the police. UDA quartermaster and police agent William Stobie had handed the gun to police and the police had given it back to him. Police “may have thought they had tampered with it to prevent it from being used”. According to the HET report this operation “would have required both the authority of a senior police officer and a recovery plan, generally short-term and where possible supported by the security forces within a short period of time. Clearly in this case, there was a significant failure and the repercussions were tragic and devastating”. The gun was, the report continued, also used in other UDA killings.[22]

Alex Maskey, a Sinn Féin MLA for the area, commented that “the finding by the HET that the Browning pistol used by the UDA in this attack was handed back to them by the RUC will come as no surprise to the people of the Lower Ormeau area who have long known that a high degree of collusion took place in this attack”.[22]

Officers from the HET were told by police that the assault rifle used in the attack had been “disposed of”. However, it was later discovered on display in the Imperial War Museum.[23]

Jackie McDonald

In February 2012 Jackie McDonald, the incumbent commander of the UDA South Belfast Brigade (the area in which the shop is located), admitted that the victims of the shooting had been innocent. However, McDonald said that he could not apologise for the attack, arguing that as he was imprisoned at the time he played no part in what had happened.[11] In an earlier interview with Peter Taylor, McDonald suggested that it was the rise in sectarian killings and attacks such as that at Sean Graham’s that “brought about the ceasefire at the end of the day”.[9]

Attack on James Murray’s bookmakers

On the afternoon of 14 November 1992, the UDA carried out another attack on a betting shop in Belfast. The target was James Murray’s betting shop on the Oldpark Road in the north of the city, which was used mostly by Catholics.[24] One gunman fired into the shop from the doorway with an automatic weapon, while another smashed the window and threw a grenade inside. As he did so, he shouted “Yous deserve it, yous Fenian bastards!”.[25] Two Catholic civilians were killed outright and another died in hospital shortly after;[25] all of them were elderly men.[26] Thirteen others were wounded, some seriously. Like the shooting at Sean Graham’s, the November attack had also been planned by Adair. It “was followed by a raucous celebration in a loyalist club in south Belfast with Adair occupying centre stage”.[25] According to McDonald and Cusack the attack on this shop, which also had a few Protestant patrons who were present during the shooting, was carried out by Stephen McKeag.[27]